If you’re like us, you’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s latest album “Folklore” on repeat since it was released last week. And, like us, you’ve probably been hit in the feels.
But just you wait.
There’s this fan theory that has been circulating online involving Swift’s latest storytelling adventure, where they claim the entire “Folklore” album tells a heartbreaking love story between two people named Betty and James. But don’t get your hopes up, there’s no happy ending here.
The poster theorizes “Folklore” tells the story of the last owner of Swift’s Rhode Island home, once known as “Holiday House.” Rebekah Harkness, who went by Betty, was indeed the last owner. Here’s what the poster believes went down with Betty and her old flame James.
This story starts with whats’s essentially the end of this love story recounting James’ affair. The track “August” describes the beginning of the affair while “Mirrorball” describes the details of the things they did. In “Cardigan,” Betty learns about the affair and her reaction isn’t pretty while “Betty” is where James learns that Betty knows about the affair and tries to apologize to her. Then in “Illicit Affairs,” we get to hear about the affair from the mistress’ point of view. In “Exile,” Betty and James sing to one another as Betty ends their relationship. In “The 1,” Betty tells herself she’s over James and is trying to move on.
Then we get James’ arc of this story. “This Is Me Trying” has James desperately trying to make things right with Betty, but it’s not working. In “Peace,” James realizes the only way for both him and Betty to find peace is for him to leave town, so he joins the Army. In “Epiphany,” James dies in battle while “My Tears Ricochet” essentially covers James’ funeral. Then in “Hoax,” Betty goes crazy after not being able to process James’ death.
Then we get the aftermath of it all. In “Mad Woman,” Betty leaves town and moves to Rhode Island. Then we start seeing how Taylor plays into this album with “Seven,” which details her childhood experiences in Pennsylvania, and “Invisible String” focuses on Taylor’s adult life and her relationship with Joe Alwyn, while also hints at how she and Betty/James are all unknowingly connected. Finally, in “The Last Great American Dynasty,” Betty is deceased and Taylor buys the Rhode Island home that Betty once lived in, linking Betty and Taylor and connecting the whole story.
And after listening to “Folklore” in the order listed, keeping in mind how each song tells a unique storyline from a specific perspective, I have to admit that it’s certainly plausible.
Listen for yourself in this order:
- “Illicit Affairs”
- “The 1”
- “This Is Me Trying”
- “My Tears Ricochet”
- “Mad Woman”
- “Invisible String”
- “The Last Great American Dynasty”
It might not turn out to be true, but you have to admire how this fan pieced this entire album together as one giant movie that we’re going to need to see. Stat.